I Gesture Unto Thee…

We are in the home stretch of the presidential campaign and the first of the four debates (three presidential, one vice-presidential) is tonight in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately debates tend to be less about ideas and more about talking points, gotchas, and zingers. Regardless of the debates’ utility, candidates do not always convey everything they express through words. Sometimes they send a message through their body language. The New York Times looks at a few, what they call, signature gestures used by President Obama and Governor Romney.

Presidential (Candidate) Gestures
Presidential (Candidate) Gestures

The gestures are illustrated and then explained and shown in three examples from the respective candidate’s convention speech. The overall use of the gesture is then indicated in a bar showing how often and when in the speech the gestures were used.

Credit for the piece goes to Aquin G.V., Alan McLean, Archie Tse and Sergio Peçanha.

Uncertain Planet

Someday humanity will find a planet amongst the stars similar in temperament to Earth. One of the best star systems to explore is Gliese 581, a small and faint star some 20 light years away. Calculations show that there are a few planets that could exist in or near what is often called the Goldilocks Zone. The Goldilocks Zone describes the distance from the systems’ star where planets could exist with liquid water. But generally, one needs to take that with a grain of salt. Here in the Sol System, for example, Earth is joined by Venus and Mars. But neither of those planets appear capable of sustaining life at least at present.

The problem with Gliese 581 is that we are not yet certain as to exactly how many exoplanets form the planetary system. It might be four; it might be five. The different schools of thought lead to different conclusions about the possibility of there being liquid water. And life as we know it requires water. The New York Times looked at Gliese 581 earlier this summer and compared the two different orbital models.

4 Exoplanets
4 Exoplanets
5 Exoplanets
5 Exoplanets

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum.

The Hispanic Vote

People make a great deal about the Hispanic vote and how it will affect the election. In every election I can recall. Granted, that’s only  a few presidential elections and a couple more Congressional mid-terms. But the problem is that Hispanics do not vote. In scientific-ish terms, the Hispanic vote is wasted potential energy—they could make quite the impact, particularly in the south and southwest, arguably too in the larger cities. But to look at where to focus energies at higher efficiencies, i.e. turnout, the New York Times has this graphic looking at the potential for Hispanic votes.

Hispanic Voters
Hispanic Voters

Credit for the piece goes to Kevin Quealy.

Average Household Spending

This tree map from the Wall Street Journal looks at an interesting subject: average household spending. How much are we spending on housing, on food, on transportation, &c.?

Household spending
Household spending

But I’m not so sure that the main visualisation is necessary. I appreciate the big colour and splashiness, but the space use seems inefficient. Perhaps if the colours had been tied, as is commonly seen, to another variable, the tree map would be more useful. Imagine if the chart looked at the spending value and the average growth over the last ten years, with the year-by-year value still plotted below.

 

Economic Freedom

Canada, our neighbour to the north, is sometimes taken to task for being too socialist or too liberal with their healthcare system and regulatory oversight of industries, including finance. But what data increasingly shows us is that we cannot say their more socialist economy is weaker than ours. Rather in several metrics now, the Canadian economy is stronger than ours. The National Post looked at just that a little while back.

A Comparison
A Comparison

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathon Rivait.

Life Expectancy Decline for Under-educated Whites

The New York Times published a chart looking at the decline in life expectancy for under-educated whites, i.e. whites who have not finished high school. The life expectancies of blacks and Hispanics offer a stark contrast, for while starting at a lower base, their respective expectancies are increasing.

Decline
Decline

How a Dead Panda Should Have Grown

Earlier this month a panda was born in Washington. The Post did a small infographic looking at how a panda cub grows over the course of its first year. I decided I would probably wait until sometime later this week to publish it.

Except it died yesterday. So before the moment is gone, here’s a graphic from the Washington Post looking at how the cub should have grown up.

How it should have grown
How it should have grown

Credit for the piece goes to Patterson Clark.

The Enemy Amongst Us

Perhaps the greatest danger now facing NATO and US troops in Afghanistan is the age-old wolf in sheep’s clothing, the insurgent dressed in Afghan Army fatigues. As the graphic below shows, the number of fatalities has been increasing along with the number of attacks. The silver lining in the cloud (to mix metaphors) is that the average lethality of the attacks is on the decline as fewer ISAF soldiers are killed per attack.

Timeline of the History of the World

Evolution is a myth. Creationism is where it’s at. So thankfully we have this new timeline that takes into account the age of fossils, radiocarbon dating, and all that other science-y stuff. I’m just glad to know that the reason we won World War I was because we had the raptors on our side.

The Timeline
The Timeline

The original graphic comes from the Government of South Australia, but the manipulated graphic is courtesy of chartgeek.com.

Where to Live for the Highest Income

So perhaps the title is a bit of a non-sequitor, but the Washington Post released a table of the Top-100 counties by average income. As a Washington paper their focus was on that city’s suburbs, three counties of which are Numbers 1, 2, and 3. But I wanted to get a sense of where other counties were, including that of my hometown.

Where the Rich Live
Where the Rich Live